Just as PSATs were once a practice test to the college admissions’ SAT, high schools’ pre-season used to be the warm-up, or practice, for the regular fall athletic season.
Not any more.
Teen athletes routinely pay hundreds of dollars to go to week or month-long sports-specific camps during the summer months; many more have personal trainers or sports performance specialists who, year-round, coach, prehab or, if an injury has stricken, rehab them so they can return to the fields in late August in Ironman strength.
But not all teen athletes spend the summer honing their six-pack abs or doing suicides at the local beach or park.
“The majority of high school varsity and junior varsity players have taken the summer off, which is not a bad thing, in theory,” says Dr. Carolyn Mazur, CEO, founder and head physical therapist and sports performance specialist at Fusion Physical Therapy & Sports Performance in New York City’s meatpacking district. “But high school sports have become increasingly competitive. To land a spot on a varsity team is not easy anymore. And to get a coveted college sports recruitment offer is more competitive than ever. Unfortunately, we see most of our teen injuries in the fall and a lack of PRE pre-season training is the problem.”
“2 million kids a year are injured playing sports and 62% of organized sports-related injuries occur during practice,” said Dr. James N. Gladstone, associate professor of orthopedic surgery and co-chief, division of sports medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital. “Targeted training, both endurance and cardio, could easily drop those numbers.”
177, 559 is the maximum number of athletic scholarships awarded in 2013; 92, 658 men and 84, 901 women – 30% men and 40% women. 517, 849 is the total number of athletes participating in college sports. So 1 in every 3 athletes has a shot at getting financial help to fund a higher education.
“I’ve seen strong players come back in August with corn growing out of their ears,” said Neil Potter, boys’ basketball coach, Hunter College High School. “I emailed a summer training schedule, but I think it got deemed junk mail. Basically, we start all over again during pre-season, from a conditioning standpoint.”
TIPS FOR PARENTS’ HELPING THEIR TEENS EASE INTO PRE-SEASON TRAINING AND PREVENT INJURIES
Cardio-Train – running stairs, jumping rope and/or jumping jacks can be done anywhere. Plan active end-of-summer and Labor Day vacations.
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Strength-Train – push ups, pull ups, planks; weight-lift if equipment is accessible.
Agility/Stretch – hit every muscle group; try a yoga or Pilates class; change it up.
Follow the 10% rule -- don’t increase resistance, training activity, mileage or pace more than 10% each week.
Eat well/hydrate often -- protein is essential to muscle mass and energy level; vegetables and fruits are also key; water is an athlete’s beverage of choice. Change it up with coconut water. Avoid sodas, even diet.
If you have limited time or you just began your pre-pre-season schedule, here are 3 drills or exercises you can do:
* Dynamic stretching, including butt kicks, Frankensteins, hip openers, figure 4s, skips
* Warm ups, including ½ speed jog, ¾ speed jog, backward jog, lateral shuffle, karaoke
* Overhead squat stability progression
Contact Fusion Physical Therapy & Sports Performance at: http://fusion-pt.com or 212-924-4920 for more information on these tips.
Fusion Physical Therapy & Sports Performance, inventors of the Triple Play Program, is a full-service Prehab, Rehab and Back-to-Play training facility for results-driven professional, amateur and teen athletes in New York City.
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